On August 6th, 1991 Tim Berners-Lee made the World Wide Web publicly available, revealing new technology which would fundamentally change the world as we knew it. In just over 25 years, the internet has grown and become an integral part of everyday life for most of our population.
It is reported that more than half of the world’s people now use the internet, which has exciting implications for businesses, governments, and society in general.
In 1997, Andrew Weinreich founded and launched the first recognized social media platform, Six Degrees. He created a site that enabled users to upload a profile and connect with other users, based on the theory that every person in the world could be connected to each other by just six degrees of separation
Since, we have witnessed an explosion of social networking sites which include blogs, chat rooms, forums, video sharing sites, virtual worlds and bookmarking sites: MySpace, YouTube, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, to mention but a few
Social networking has become a very established way of promoting a service or a product; a way for small businesses to engage with thousands of people. In fact, it has been noted that over 75% of small business owners are confident in their social media strategies. It is hard to comprehend a time (not that long ago) when social media wasn’t an integral part of business growth and success.
It’s easy, right? What could possibly go wrong
It is without a doubt that the online community has little tolerance for self-promoters that use social media as a means of free advertising. Reflecting on insight provided by Julio Viskovich, social media is not a place for a hard sell. If you create your social media presence around a high-pressure selling environment, you risk wasting a special opportunity to attract potential, loyal custom.
It is vital to understand the ways to engage the right audiences with valuable content, rather than overloading your spectators with information and costs.
Instead of hard selling, create an emotional connection! It’s true that you have far greater success when constructing an experience, a memory, an impassioned allegiance.
At a recent seminar on social media marketing, it was suggested that only 1 in 7 posts should overtly promote your business
. The remaining 6 should be focused on sharing expertise, asking questions and building relationships…
• Share ‘fun facts’ with your network
• Include imagery and / or video links [download CANVA and LEGEND – amazing!]
• Use emotive language
• Trigger conversation
In a society dominated by technology, a social media marketing strategy should utilize the chance to reveal the culture of your business. Posts should epitomise brand image and should clearly represent the values articulated in your mission statement. Meanwhile, social media promotion should be approached in a way that is in keeping with alternative marketing efforts so that a clear, unified message is portrayed to the widest possible audience.
Information shared on the internet is very difficult to remove and is never truly deleted, so it is paramount that all posts reflect the intended attitudes and values. Whilst social media marketing enables companies to talk to their customers, it also allows customers to talk to each other.
Prior to the World Wide Web, it was hard for a customer to complain about a service or a product in a public domain. However, when using sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, anybody can post a negative comment. In a book by Paul Gillin, it is stated that conventional marketing wisdom has long held that a dissatisfied customer tells 10 people. But that is out of date. In the new age of social media, he or she has the tools to tell 10 million people.
Most social platforms now have an option to ‘share’ content, meaning that it is important to acknowledge that
when submitting material, you entrust complete control to a vast network, most of which you have never had
Social media marketing involves a constant monitoring process that can prove timely. When time equates to money, perhaps social media isn’t so free after all! It is imperative to actively participate in forums and chat rooms to observe discussion regarding your company, your products and / or your service…
• Dedicate time to your social media marketing strategy
• Ensure that you monitor your online presence
• Prepare resources that allow for increased traffic, exposure and demand
• Be aware that although it is a free way of advertising, it is often timely
• Be socially savvy – learn what your audience want and need and get it right!
When you have correctly identified how to capture and retain the attention of your audience, it is certain that social media marketing can bring enormous benefits to a business including an increase of brand recognition, improved brand loyalty, stronger search engine rankings, greater inbound traffic, and higher conversion rates. But how do we measure social media ROI?
You must measure social activities so that you can learn what’s successful, what isn’t, and how you can improve. There are several very useful tools to estimate your audience engagement…
• Facebook Analytics
• Google Analytics
You will likely find that your demographics differ across social media channels, which will allow you to tailor posts based upon your receiving audience. Your social media marketing strategy should consist of sub-strategies for each channel that you expect to be active on. For example, a plan for Twitter, Facebook and so forth.
Social media marketing has unlimited ROI potential, but it should not be viewed as the easy or quick option to gaining recognition. Given the correct planning, your social media strategy could provide fantastic opportunities and increased business. Done poorly, it could ruin your reputation!
• Determine your goals and aims, and align it with your broader marketing strategy
• Ensure your objectives are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound
• Use evaluation tools to assess to current state of your social media presence
• Gather inspiration from others in your sector – What is working? What do you like? • Implement improvements
• Test, evaluate and adjust
• Plan how to maintain a consistent, effective social media presence